Local Dad and TNM Board Member Andrew Tolve Shares What Motivates Him to Give Back to The Nature Museum


“We can’t let them die, Dada.”

Andrew and Austen.jpg

This was my son Austen’s response upon learning that global warming was melting the polar ice caps and endangering his beloved polar bears.

I told him he was right—we cannot let them die, but fixing this is really complicated.

“No it isn’t…We just have to make a giant freezer, like a really, really big one, and put it over the North Pole.”

I asked him if he thought we could pull that off.

“Of course we can, Dada!”

Friends of The Nature Museum (TNM), this is why I am optimistic about our future.

No matter how cynical we feel about the state of the world, our children and grandchildren should give us hope. Because where we see insurmountable complexities, children see solutions. Big, bold solutions—like a giant freezer for the North Pole—and they’re not afraid to pursue them. The more exposed to nature they are and the more education they receive, the more solutions they’ll generate and the more viable those solutions will become.

This is why TNM is so important. It’s why, despite being a sleep-deprived dad with two kids under five, I joined as a Board Member. I believe strongly in what TNM is doing and I’m writing to ask for your support.

You are essential to what TNM is and what we are able to accomplish. We view it as our responsibility to instill a love of nature in everyone we reach. A love of nature is the foundation for all further environmental concern.

Already we produce scores of wonderful events and programs that get children away from digital devices and out into the beauty of their natural surroundings. With your support, we’ll be able to deliver even more to children throughout Southern Vermont and New Hampshire.

I’ve seen the quality of these programs for myself, from the joy of kids in our Mighty Acorn Club, to the magic of the Fairy House Festival, to the impact of TNM’s school visits. Last winter, our Senior Educator Jay DeGregorio visited the Saxtons River Montessori School for a snowshoeing expedition. I watched as my son learned how to pick out animal tracks in the snow. A tiny light print leading to a nearby tree—a squirrel! Or deeper split prints bounding toward the fence—a deer! This outdoor immersion changed the way Austen looks at winter and how he connects with the world around him.

Your generosity today will allow Jay to reach more students, enriching their connection to the outdoors. It also will enable us to continue to provide wonderful experiences for adults — such as our sold-out Wild World of Mushrooms workshops and our lessons in Slow Birding — and to turn our eyes toward ambitious new frontiers in the near future.

This year we received the fabulous gift of 3.5 acres of land adjacent to our museum. It’s a blank slate, so we have big plans to transform it into a beautiful nature experience for visitors of all ages. Imagine lovely wildlife habitats, ponds, benches, outdoor displays and natural play spaces! Our aim is to make it one of the most magical outdoor experiences in the region.

Together, we’re making a difference. I’m so grateful for your past support of The Nature Museum and hope you share our goal to be an even more powerful catalyst for helping all ages fall in love with the natural world. Thank you for giving as generously as you can!


Andrew Tolve
The Nature Museum Board of Directors